Interviews & Conversations Projects Women I've Shot

An Interview: Breastfeeding101 – A portrayal of the pleasures & pains of breastfeeding

This is Michaela

South African, age 31
Location- at the Christ Church in Kenilworth, Cape Town.
Feeding her 6-month-old child
Photographed October 2019

I got off to a rocky start breastfeeding: latching seemed to go well, but after 18 hours of my baby still not peeing on day 3, I had to really fight to get a formula top-up (as the one experienced nurse who’d prescribed it had left for the night).

After all the crying, and being shouted at and being told I was ruining my sons life, and after the last 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding (which was sometimes so painful, wow!) I believe two things strongly: breastfeeding is one of, if not the most beautiful, expressions of the world and relationship at peace; and formula is not from the devil, or the thing that disqualifies you from being a loving, tenacious mom.
I hope with all the championing of breastfeeding (which is needed!) we don’t drown out cases where formula has really really helped.

I am so enjoying your book. It had me up last night, reading through the many amazing and powerful and sometimes heartbreaking stories. Also, it made me properly write out my feeding journey sinceDaniels birth. So meeting you and getting your book has been truly healing, and opened me up to the moms all around me.

In 2019 I published my first book, Breastfeeding 101, which features candid portraits of 101 breastfeeding women as well their honest stories. In this blog post you see one of the mothers represented with a short personal blurb about her breastfeeding journey.

The idea for this book was unexpectedly sparked three years ago when I started seeing a lot of controversial social media content about breasts, nipples and breastfeeding.

Looking forward I hope my book can help normalise what is already a women’s most natural act. I would love to see the breastfeeding percentage rate in South Africa double. It came as a surprise to learn that, according to the 2018 statistics of the World Health Organisation (WHO), our country has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world.

Breastfeeding 101 features mothers from South Africa as well as around the globe and serves as a first-hand body of information – an unintentional handbook – directly from the women it captures.

Breastfeeding 101 is a book that wasn’t intended as a manual but may serve as one.

Basic info about the book:

Title: Breastfeeding 101
Publisher: Self-published via Staging Post
Format: Hardcover, 22 x 27cm, 224 pages
Price: ZAR385
Available for purchase via Exclusive Books, The Book Lounge and directly from the author.